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The road ahead for Jaheel Hyde - Manager speaks on plans after big LIME deal

Published:Sunday | January 11, 2015 | 1:00 AM
Garfield Coke.
Carlo Redwood (right), vice-president, marketing, LIME, welcomes Jaheel Hyde to Team LIME. Hyde has been offered a multi-year sponsorship from the telecoms firm to support his professional development. - Contributed
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André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

His is a promise that escapes even the most talented. Very good with the books, gifted with a football at his feet and a world-beater on the track.

Still, we have seen many an extraordinary youngster lose the plot when it comes to transitioning into the professional ranks, but this will not be the case for World Youth and World Junior Champion in the 110m and 400m hurdles Jaheel Hyde - this, according to his manager, Garfield Coke.

Coke certainly knows his way around the world of sports management and marketing, with a certain Usain Bolt among those he has worked with in the past.

In fact, his name is on the door at the agency responsible for the development of Hyde and other elite youth athletes like himself, and the company that brokered an impressive multi-year partnership with telecommunications provider LIME for the Wolmer's High School flag-bearer - Garfield Coke Management Company (GCMC).

Coke outlined his vision for the 17-year-old hurdles and football star, explained their coming together and shared the mantra of his company during an interview with The Sunday Gleaner, shortly after LIME's announcement.

YOUNGEST BRAND AMBASSADOR

LIME has welcomed the sixth-form student as their youngest brand ambassador and have committed to covering his technical expenses, including nutrition, physiotherapy, grooming, and mental coaching - key elements on the manager's road map for his young charge.

"Jaheel Hyde is a major talent and, in terms of balance, he has always balanced football, track and field, and academics very well, and so he is very mature in this regard - it's a culture for him," Coke said.

"This sponsorship with LIME is a perfect fit for him, because it's a development for his brand and also in terms of his educational ambitions. This deal will help a lot in his development as an individual athlete, to help in his transition to the next level," added Coke.

Coke, whose GCMC model involves grooming the island's elite young talent such as Hyde and St Jago star Martin Manley, among others, and prepare them for professional competition and development, met Hyde years ago as a neighbour of the youngster's family and has had a front-row seat at his progress.

"A lot of athletes fall by the wayside because of a lack of support (needed for their) development and transition onto the next level, and so GCMC is here for that - to provide administrative, technical services; the entire nurturing of young talent, with a focus also on the development of their education," explained Coke. "What we are determined to do through GCMC is ensuring that the athletes have a talent pool of experts around them that can guide them through the process."

"Jaheel Hyde is one of a few elite athletes under the GCMC banner. We have been careful to select top-ranked athletes, not just because of their talent, but also because of their academic performance and what I would call their marketability. This, I believe, is a novel approach and one that ensures that Jamaicans, generally, are viewed in a better light than in previous times as being talent and not brains," he added.

NO LONGER AMATEUR

The Hyde-LIME deal, of course, means that the world youth 110m hurdles record-holder and Youth Olympic Games Champion can no longer be considered an amateur athlete and, as a result, will not be eligible for scholarships in the NCAA system.

No issues, says Coke, who explained that while the plan is for him to study locally, his sponsorships would also cover his costs should that plan change down the road.

"Sure, the most important thing is the education. There is really no difference between a scholarship and a sponsorship, really. Jaheel Hyde, in particular, is not going overseas to study. Like most of the self-made, home-grown Jamaican athletes, he has chosen to take this route as well, but if he has the desire to go overseas - because he can do that - it would be done through our sponsors," said Coke, who also noted that he would support the youngster if he decides to keep competing in both football and athletics.

Hyde will continue to train under the guidance of the coaching staff at Wolmer's, and is said to be close to finalising other sponsorship deals through GCMC.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com